NFL, MLB, CFL stats



Minnesota United FC at FC Dallas Preview

June 18, 2021 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Minnesota United FC News Release


GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - Following the international break, Minnesota United returns to action by flying down to Frisco, Texas, to take on FC Dallas. 2021 began ruggedly for the Loons as the team dropped four straight before a pair of back-to-back home wins and a draw on the road to Real Salt Lake. One of those teams they beat at Allianz Field? FC Dallas, who will surely be looking for a bit of payback on their home turf - a place where MNUFC have never taken so much as a point. While Minnesota will be without the services of midfielders Robin Lod and Jan Gregus and defender Jukka Raitala because of international duty, the starting XI should be bolstered by newly signed left winger Franco Fragapane and a more fully fit Adrien Hunou, who debuted in the team's 1-1 draw at Real Salt Lake. They'll need the new additions to contribute and quick if they're going to fight their way back up the table to the contending spot they were pegged for prior to the start of the season.

ADRIAN HEATH ON FACING DALLAS IN THEIR BUILDING

"As I say, they're never easy at home. They beat Portland there recently. The games we've played there have always been difficult and I don't expect anything different. I think the teams are quite evenly matched and the fact that they're below us in the table, but it's really tight, has a lot of incentive going into it. It's the start of what's going to be a really busy period for us. A lot of games coming up and we'll go there fully prepared and it's going to be difficult but if we play the way we can and commit to the game plan, I don't see any reason we can't win the game."

CHASE GASPER ON THE INTERNATIONAL BREAK

"It was a good break. It's fun to take time off, to see family and friends. After this past year, a lot of us haven't been able to [see family] so definitely refreshing. And fun to watch our teammates playing in the [EURO Cup], a bunch of MLS guys in Copa America and so it's fun to watch all those games, see them play their international games, but most importantly to get guys healthy and fit again, definitely the most important part. We got a lot of key guys coming back, so to choose from the entire team, that's huge for our team and I think it's going to help us a lot. So we're most looking forward to getting everyone healthy and fit for these upcoming games."

THE OPPOSITION

With only a single win on the year - albeit a 4-1 thumping of the Portland Timbers at Toyota Stadium back in Week 3 - FC Dallas have struggled out of the gate and found themselves wallowing in last place in the Western Conference. Their other three home results have all been draws so far, which is rough for a team that generally counts on a considerable homefield advantage through most of the season due to the torrid, sticky Dallas heat. In the last week, though, the Toros have added defensive midfielder Facundo Quignon from Lanus in Argentina's Primera División. While Quignon is unlikely to be available for the game against MNUFC due to all the rigamarole that comes with an international transfer, plus quarantine regulations for COVID, the Loons know well how adding a high-caliber holding mid can change a club's fortunes. Minnesota will have to return to Dallas in October when points will be even more valuable, so the chance to take one or even three now could set the template for success in the sweltering Texas heat.

STORYLINE presented by BMW

FINNISH WHAT YOU STARTED: Minnesota United was the only team outside of Europe to send three players to UEFA EURO 2020 over the international break and the results so far have been positive. Defender Jukka Raitala and midfielder (and sometimes #9) Robin Lod joined Finland for that team's first trip to the competition. The Finns have performed well overall, currently sitting second in Group B with a win and a loss, while Jan Gregus' Slovakia team find themselves on top of Group E, having won their only game so far against Poland while Spain and Sweden drew in their opener. Loons fans likely follow these players' success on the international stage with a mix of celebration and concern - the further Slovakia and Finland go in the tournament, the more time Raitala, Lod and Gregus will miss. While Raitala may have already made his biggest contribution to the team this year by stepping into a centerback role for the injured Bakaye Dibassy early, Lod has been one of the team's best players so far, leading the team in xG+xA and finding himself top ten in MLS in that category as well. Minnesota have the depth to work around his absence as well as Gregus' with Hassani Dotson, Wil Trapp and Osvaldo Alonso all available in central midfield, but an injury here or there could challenge that depth in a season that only gets more compressed from here on.

FIRST TOUCHES: The Toros have the third most offside calls in MLS with 16 so far. Jader Obrian is responsible for nine of those, placing him third in the league.

PLAYER AVAILABILITY REPORT:

Minnesota United

OUT:

Robin Lod - International Duty

Jukka Raitala - International Duty

Jan Gregus - International Duty

QUESTIONABLE:

N/A

• Discuss this story on the Major League Soccer message board...

Major League Soccer Stories from June 18, 2021


The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

OurSports Central